In the war for talent the pendulum has shifted; today headhunters are challenged with making placements in a soft labor economy, overwhelmed with high unemployment and few available job orders. This article will focus on what recruiters should do to maximize their placement opportunities and strengthen their position in the talent acquisition space.
With only a few quality job orders available, recruiters must maximize their placement opportunities by doing a better job of communicating their consultative value to employers throughout the entire interview process. One of the major reasons placements are lost is because the interview process is often flawed. In the race for talent, the integrity of the interview process is often compromised because most employers, while utilizing the "e-Recruiting" approach in hiring talent, often omit a number of vital steps. In order to fully understand the effects of the flawed interview process, one must first look at the "e-Recruiting" approach and the vital steps that are lost.
In the late 1990's employers were challenged with finding skilled talent in a growing economy characterized by a diminished talent pool as trained workers abandoned their traditional jobs for more lucrative dot.com opportunities. To meet the increasing demand of acquiring talent, employers attentively listened to the new leaders of the recruiting industry (IT Executives that recently entered the recruiting industry market space) and as a result, abandoned the traditional method of recruitment. The IT Executives effectively communicated the new concept of electronic recruitment to employers; one that would allow the employer to find qualified candidates directly, stream-line their interview process and reduce/eliminate placement fees paid to headhunters. The e-Recruiting concept utilizes the Internet to electronically link the employer's current job openings to a Major Job Board (i.e. Monster) which potentially leads interested candidates back to the employers' corporate website where candidates can electronically submit resumes for specific job postings. The submitted resumes are then processed by a "back-end" applicant tracking system that route the resumes to the specific hiring manager for evaluation. The qualification of the internal recruiter who administers the applicant tracking system is typically a younger high-tech savvy employee.
Pitfalls of e-Recruiting
Recruiters view themselves as both producers and consultants in the talent acquisition process and will argue the following:
The vital steps that are often taken lightly or omitted entirely from the interview process are candidate feedback, interview coordination and offer presentation. Historically, these steps were administered by professional headhunters who often acted as liaison between the candidates and the employer during the interview process. How important are these steps? Staffing experts will view these steps as critical to the interview process because employers won't extend a job offer simply by looking at a person's resume, or a candidate wont quit his present job simply by reading an employer's job description. Both decisions are based on the interpretations and communication of events that take place during the interview process. More specifically, the qualifications, track record and the reputation of the candidate can only gain that candidate an interview with the employer, but it is the performance of the candidate during the interview that will most likely grant that candidate a job offer. Like wise, the employer's reputation, prestige and the job opportunity can only attract potential candidates to an interview, but it is the performance of the employer during the interview will have a positive impact on possibly employing that candidate.
Perception of Headhunters
Good Headhunters add consultative value to the interview process, so why do employers often exclude headhunters from the process? Unfortunately, in the eyes of employers, headhunters are rapidly losing credibility and are often viewed as pushy sales people who are only interested in earning a commission. The reasons employers view headhunters in this manner are as followed:
What Should Headhunters do?
In order to strengthen their position in the talent acquisition process, headhunters should:
Employers are continuously seeking innovative ideas that will increase revenue; reduce cost and improve efficiencies; as such they are always open to ideas on recruitment and staffing issues. They listened to the IT guys and the results were "six in one hand and a half dozen in the other hand", now is the time for headhunters to step up and solidify their position in talent acquisition space.